Hello, OC UNITED Family!
You may not know me but I sure know you – it’s my job to “know” you. I am so incredibly grateful for all of you Well, here goes nothing.
a little about me.
My name is Brandon. Firstly, I’m the Marketing & Communication Manager at OC United – it’s a fancy title for being responsible to communicate the stories of hope, change, and beauty of the people we get to interact with on a day-to-day basis. Secondly, I get the privilege of living in our THRIVE Home for former-foster youth as an on-site mentor. I’ve been in both of these roles for the better part of the last three years and boy have they been something.
So, my job is to create content. I know – we’re a dime a dozen these days. In our social media driven world where curated lives are King (and Queen), it can get difficult to separate oneself from the highlights (your feed). First of all, I think it’s interesting that we create content in order to try to feel content — and we feed our feed to feel fed. Rant over.
get to the chase, Brandon.
I’m really here to talk about this “as you are going” thing. That’s why you clicked, right?
First of all, I’m no licensed or recognized biblical scholar. What I’m going to share with you comes from pieces of my education, nuggets of conversation, and personal study — so please take it with a grain of salt. That being said, it has really served my perspective. This piece comes from “The Great Commission” – the fancy title that people who follow Jesus have given to his last words before going back up to heaven. It’s a very popular set of verses within the Christian realm that is often used when sending people beyond international borders and overseas to do evangelism. The scripture goes like this,
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I want to focus in on verse 19 where Jesus is translated to saying, “Therefore go”. Quite the indicative command, right? Understandably used to convince people to “go” or “leave” where they currently are. The Greek word there is: πορευθέντες. It’s root word is the verb “go”. However, I’d like to convince you that it is not the formal command “go” but more of a contextual clue “as you are going”.
πορευθέντες is a aorist passive participle. Let’s break that down. [Also, if you don’t care about the greek syntax breakdown, go ahead and skip to the “relevance’ paragraph]
Present Active Verb (Standard): “you go”
Add Aorist [past tense] : “you go” becomes “you went”.
Add Aorist Passive : “you went” becomes “as you have gone” [voice change].
Add Aorist Passive Participle : “as you have gone” becomes “as you will have been going”.
For Simplicity’s Sake : let’s just say “as you are going”
Are you still with me? Sorry, I promise that relevance is just a few sentences away.
So here we are. There’s this command to go and do Jesus stuff — making disciples, baptizing people, telling them to obey stuff. Okay fine. I want to focus on the “Therefore go”.
I used to think that I needed to leave the country and everything else in order to //really// serve God and His people. Do I think we need to be sacrificial and giving of ourselves in order to make a difference? Sure! We can’t just focus on ourselves. However, I think there’s some beauty and freedom – but also a different challenge — in the “as you are going”. We focus so much on the need to leave where we are right now, pick it all up, move across the ocean, experience, and be part of God’s work elsewhere. However, we’ve been told more so to do those things “as we are going”! So if serving others for you means “making disciples of all nations and baptizing them” etc, etc, etc — then do that as you are going.
I live with 6 former-foster youth. It’s awesome. Reminds me of college. But my guys also require another level of love and grace. I’ve spent a LOT of time trying to figure out the right sort of events to organize, the best mentorship techniques, and out-of-the-box programmatic approaches to providing love and care for them. Those things are all good and great — but they didn’t work for me — or for them, obviously.
hey, wanna come?
When I found out about the “as you are going” stuff, it was like a breath of fresh air. Lightbulb! So, as you are going, bring people along!
This leaves us with two challenges:
(1) Have enough of our own habits in place that we can provide a healthy routine for ourselves to follow, and
(2) when you have the capacity, even if you don’t want to, bring someone along.
So a few months ago, one of the guys in the house asked me if he could come to the gym with me. Let’s call him “J”. He got a 3-day pass and worked his tail off! I was so proud of him. Aside from all of this, this guy works really hard, is incredibly resilient, and more — but to be honest, we haven’t connected much over the past year and a half that we have lived together! We’ve done bible studies, gone out to lunch every month, etc — but until now, it was hard to connect with J. He bought a gym pass and we’ve been going almost every morning ever since.
what does this mean for me, Brandon?
We focus so much on the fact that we need to leave where we are in order to do God’s work — or whatever good will we choose to do. But it’s not only that. It’s as we go. So I know that pretty much every single person who is reading this has someone that they care about that they want to “step into the gap” for. It can be a really daunting task, right? Well, here’s the freedom — you don’t need to save them or fix them. Just start with, “hey, wanna come?” with the next thing that’s part of your everyday. It can be your weekly grocery store trip, it can be the hike you have planned for this weekend with your friends, it could be to whatever you are already doing.
Trust = consistency / time
Relationship = experiences / time
Here at OC United, we believe that if people FEEL that they are safe and FEEL that they can trust someone and are in turn trusted — restorative relationships can grow.
So I challenge you today and this month. As you are going in your everyday hustle and bustle, ask them, “hey, wanna come?”.
I believe in you because I know you believe in THEM.
Thank you for stepping into the gap with us as you have been going — for them.
Here’s to the next adventures you have on the horizon. It won’t always be easy. It’ll take away from your “me time.” It might be dangerous. It will be costly. And it will be good.
Marketing & Communication Manager, Volunteer Coordinator at OC UNITED
WILL YOU STEP INTO THE GAP WITH US?
VOLUNTEER at www.ocunited.org/volunteer
GIVE at www.ocunited.org/give